A PUNCTURE at just 3km to go halted Zak Dempster’s charge for glory in Sunday’s finale to the 101st Tour de France.
It was a disappointing end to what the central Victorian cycling star called an “amazing experience” to his first hit-out in the world’s greatest road race.
Dempster’s campaign was closely followed by many cycling fans, especially those in Castlemaine and Bendigo.
“The support from back home was just incredible.,” Dempster said on Monday night.
“Any tour throws up all kinds of emotions, especially a Grand Tour,” he said of a journey that began in Leeds, took in many parts of France and wound its way to the finish in Paris.
Just hours after the Tour ended and Dempster was bound for home base in Spain.
He and his NetApp-Endura team-mates, all racing in the Tour de France for the first time, excelled in many of the 21 stages.
“For the team to be 13th overall was an amazing effort,” Dempster said on Monday night.
“Leopold Konig was in the top 10 for a lot of the way, so there was something to do in every stage.”
The Czech rider finished seventh in a race where Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali was supreme.
“As a team we achieved a lot of objectives,” Dempster said of the German-based squad’s feat.
“Team selection was as a wildcard, so the Tour de France is the only grand tour we will do this year.”
After a few days rest, Dempster will be back on the bike preparing for his next duel on the road.